Re: [Conformance] Definition of Compliance vs. conformance

Mary Jo, Katie,

We may well be trying to hold back the tide, but I DO believe the distinct is very important in our work, and I think it is valuable to make a distinction, even if only for WCAG 3.  It may be that when WCAG 3 gets “transposed” into other standards (e.g. EN 301 549) they will change or drop those glossary entries.  But then again, what WCAG 2.x has done has driven an awful lot of other things; maybe it will here as well.


P.S. I also know that one gets between Gregg and his arguments at one’s peril!
Peter Korn (he/him/his) | Director, Accessibility | Amazon Lab126

From: Katie Haritos-Shea <>
Date: Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 1:59 PM
To: Mary Jo Mueller <>
Cc: Silver Community Group <>
Subject: RE: [EXTERNAL] [Conformance] Definition of Compliance vs. conformance
Resent-From: <>
Resent-Date: Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 1:57 PM

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I hear Gregg Vanderheiden in my ear saying "You comply with laws and conform to standards" from years ago. Not sure he trumps standards bodies....

On Thu, Dec 9, 2021, 4:45 PM Mary Jo Mueller <<>> wrote:
Hi all,

After the meeting I was addressing some input from a colleague on definitions and what is already defined and available in ISO and IEC standards.  Since standards harmonization is a definite concern, it seems there's a variety of usage and definition of "Compliance", "Comply", "Conformance", Conform" and in ISO and IEC standards there are multiple instances where the definition of one of these terms includes the other term. So I'm not sure how successful we will be trying to tease apart terms that have been clearly used interchangeably for a while.

Here's a link to the ISO standards page where you can perform a search on terms to see how they are defined and in what standards they are defined.
· ISO Online Browsing Platform (OBP) select the Terms & Definitions radio button
· IEC maintains its own platform, similar to ISO check the Search also in definitions checkbox.  For example:

For example from an IEC Internet of Things standard:


characteristic<> of conformance to rules, such as those defined by a law, a regulation<>, a standard<>, or a policy

So maybe we should just concede that these are used interchangeably and use this definition.

Best regards,

Mary Jo
Mary Jo Mueller
Accessibility Standards Program Manager
IBM Accessibility

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." ~John Quincy Adams

Received on Thursday, 9 December 2021 22:01:12 UTC